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Sports are a part of every culture and every age, from the Olympic contests invented by the ancient Greeks to honor their gods, to good old American baseball. Unfortunately, being active in sports commonly means sustaining sports injuries. Avoiding an injury takes more than just luck. Whether you are a pro athlete or a weekend warrior, preparation is the key.

Sports injuriesCondition and Build Your Strength

The best way to prevent an injury is to keep your body in top physical shape. That includes eating healthy foods to provide the nutrients your body needs to repair itself after the stress of activity. It also includes building up your muscle strength through exercises and maintaining flexibility through stretching. Most importantly, take things slow.

One of the main reasons you may injure yourself is because you try to jump to a level of activity that your body is not ready for. Make sure you warm up by walking or jogging a few minutes and gently stretching out your large muscles before you begin. Start at a very basic level and increase your time and distance a little at a time, making sure you can handle the new level before upping it again.

Choose the Right Footwear

Shoes are very specific, these days. As more is learned about how our feet work, shoes are designed with more specialized characteristics for each sport—and for each foot style. Choose the type made for your sport, with the cushioning and arch support you need to compensate for any biomechanical issues like flat feet or overpronation. Don’t wait too long to replace worn-out shoes, either, as their support wanes when the materials degenerate.

Take the High Ground on Surfaces

Many injuries occur from a misstep on an uneven surface. Rocky terrain, holes, loose gravel, and tree roots can all trip you up. Ankle sprains and bone fractures are two of the more common sports injuries, and both can result from twisting or landing on uneven ground. Even repetitive strikes on smooth concrete can lead to stress fractures, damage, and even conditions like Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis.

The other thing to watch out for is running on hills. This activity puts extra strain on your shins, Achilles tendon, and calf muscles. Gradually work up to it, starting slowly with short distances until your body adjusts to the unusual motions. Running downhill is actually more risky than uphill, and going too fast can result in a fall or serious injury.

Your Body Gives the Clue: Pain!

Whenever sports activities cause you pain, you know something needs to change. No pain, no gain is not a wise motto if you want to avoid sports injuries. Whether due to a fracture, sprain, muscle strain, or a condition like metatarsalgia, tendonitis, or shin splints, listen to what your body is telling you. Stop the activity, and have your symptoms checked at Axis Foot & Ankle Clinic in Calgary, AB.

Dr. Andrew Irvine has the expertise to diagnose exactly what’s going on, and the knowledge and technology to offer the latest and best treatment to get you back in the game. Call (403) 477-3338 today and set up a consultation at one of our convenient locations: Deer Valley Family Medical Clinic, Pacific Place Medical Clinic, and Scenic Acres Medical Clinic. For more tips on foot care, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. 

Photo credit: Photonut via RGB-stock

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